OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Tools and Utilities

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Headstart Oracle Designer for Oracle Apps 11i

I recently stumbled across the Headstart web pages on the Oracle site and since I’d never heard about it, thought I would do a post on it so that I could educate myself as well as other readers as to what it really is.

According to the Headstart Oracle Designer site:

Headstart Oracle Designer is an add-on to Oracle Designer, based on Oracle Consulting best practices. It consists of two components:

  1. Headstart Template Package, a sophisticated set of templates and reusable components that allow you to 100% generate a truly professional Graphical User Interface (GUI) which can be deployed on the Web.
  2. Headstart Utilities, a productivity suite that checks and enforces the world wide Oracle Custom Development standards and significantly accelerates your development cycle through automation of time-consuming tasks in Oracle. Headstart fully support CDM RuleFrame with powerful utilities that transform business rules to business rule design definitions, create deployment packages for your business logic layer and let you create an access layer to your business logic in only a few moments. For more information on CDM RuleFrame take a look at the related white papers.

You’ll find fact sheets, demonstrations, white papers and related offerings on the site.

Headstart for Oracle Apps 11i apparently provides you with the following benefits:

  • Fast delivery because of the highly productive tool set
  • Fully integrated analysis and design information in a single repository
  • GUI that is fully compliant with forms-based Oracle Applications
  • Easy to maintain systems that are fully documented, fully generated, and completely managed from a central repository
  • Headstart for Oracle Apps unites the power of both Oracle Designer and the Application Object Library. Headstart for Oracle Apps lets the powerful application generators of Oracle Designer use the objects from AOL. Headstart for Oracle Apps, in conjunction with the Application Object Library, allows the generators to generate application modules that have the same look and feel as the forms used in Oracle Applications. Menus, messaging, navigation, user interface components and special Oracle Applications features are fully generated by Oracle Designer.
  • It is also possible to build applications that interface with the Oracle application server model. You can load these models in Oracle Designer.You can then reference these server model objects, such as views, into your new modules, which allows you to fully generate that module.
  • In addition Headstart for Oracle Apps provides you with a number of utilities that fully support CDM RuleFrame and boost productivity by automating time consuming and error prone tasks.

Would appreciate comments and feedback from anyone who has used Headstart.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Quest Software announces End User Performance Management solution

Last week I got an e-mail from Quest Software informing me of the release of a new new end-user performance management solution which optimises the application-user experience.

According to the Quest Press Release: -

The new solution empowers application owners and IT administrators with the ability to improve the end user experience of their critical applications and assure optimal service levels by providing deep visibility into the application. The Quest End User Performance Management solution alerts users of performance issues and enables accountability by pinpointing the source of those issues, significantly reducing time to resolution.

The mail in question stated that this news was important because:

  • It is the end-users of applications that determine the true value of the business applications, based on how effectively they are able to use them. End-users can include consumers browsing web sites, customers accessing external facing applications and employees accessing information internally.
  • A negative experience can directly impact bottom line revenue generation or cost-cutting initiatives because it can result in lost sales or decreased employee productivity. By effectively measuring and managing the end user experience, organisations are able to better manage business objectives and ensure operational efficiency.
  • End users can experience performance and availability issues despite the IT infrastructure running at optimum levels. Quest End User Performance Management solution allows IT administrators to pinpoint the issues and assist in resolution, allowing for total application performance management.
  • The solution monitors transactions on both custom/J2EE and packaged applications such as SAP, Oracle E-Business, PeopleSoft and Siebel, providing a shift from the traditional monitoring markets (e.g. database and infrastructure). Monitoring from an end-user perspective allows organisations to focus on the issues that truly affect business performance.

My understanding is that this solution will make use of Quest Foglight Transaction Recorder (for active monitoring using synthetic user activity) and Quest User Experience Monitor (for continuous passive monitoring of all real user activity) to ensure application availability and optimal performance around the clock.

The only software I’ve ever used by Quest is TOAD. I think the idea of being able to monitor end user application performance is an excellent one since they are the first ones to know when anything goes wrong with the application and they are the ones most likely to be impacted by performance issues.

If any one has made use of the tools being mentioned, please add your comments.

Friday, July 09, 2004

DataLoad - a tool to facilitate system data migration

This post discusses the DataLoad Software - a tool that will assist you in application data migration.

In the early days of my present occupation, namely Oracle ERP Consultant, I was introduced to the DataLoad utility. I can’t remember who introduced me to the tool but I owe them a big thankyou. I have subsequently used it on every single implementation I have been involved in for the past 3 years and am sure I will continue to make use of it in the future. I was able to learn DataLoad incredibly quickly as it is very easy to use. In a former life I was a BaaN consultant, I only wish I had been introduced to this product then as DataLoad can work on any application that accepts inputs from a keyboard or mouse. DataLoad comes in two versions, namely Classic and Professional. Up until now I’ve managed to get by using the Classic version which is free but on my most recent implementation we had some fairly heavy duty data loads to perform and so decided to buy Professional. The differences between the two version are outlined on the DataLoad site. According to the DataLoad site: -

“DataLoad loads data into any application running in Windows, and contains extra functionality for loading data and setup into Oracle Applications.

DataLoad loads data through the forms. This means the data is indistinguishable from that entered by users. To load data using DataLoad you setup DataLoad to load into the forms and the forms load the data into your system. This non-technical approach means the load can be built and run by non-technical users, and by not having to write conventional interfaces into the database a huge amount of time and money can be saved”.

Essentially there are two types of data that one needs to think about when it comes to Enterprise Applications - master data and transactional data. Examples of Master Data are Customer or Supplier information whilst transactional data might consist of sales or purchase invoices. In the instance of Oracle Applications a further data type (which is essentially master data) can be outlined, namely Application Object Library (AOL) or Setup Data such as profile options and flexfield definitions.

Loading data of any type into your application from DataLoad Classic is a three step process: -

1. Obtain your data in Electronic Format (e.g text file, excel file)

2. Copy or Import the data into a DataLoad template.

3. Load the data in to your application from the DataLoad template.

The key to success is designing your DataLoad template in ways that ensures a smooth load of your data. The DataLoad template will be used to load your data by simulating the keystrokes and mouse clicks that you would normally use to capture the data manually. An example of what a DataLoad template looks like is as follows: -

DataLoad Template Example (for loading the Accounting Calendar)

An example of a DataLoad Template for loading the Accounting Calendar

For Oracle Applications users, Pre-Built Spreadsheets or templates can be downloaded from the DataLoad web site for each module - the obvious benefit here is you will save time by not having to build your own templates. The pre-built templates can also be edited and I find it best to start out with a pre-built template and modify it, rather than building a template from scratch.

Obviously DataLoad is not the only way to migrate or load data into your applications. Each alternative means of data migration should be carefully considered and the pros and cons established (the Accenture presentation mentioned below provides a good comparison of the alternatives). Where necessary a cost benefit analysis may need to be prepared.

Related Presentations

The following presentations will provide you with further information on DataLoad: -

Data Migration in Oracle E-Business Suite (679KB) by Trond Steensnaes of Accenture at an OAUG Forum Meeting in Paris.

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